Scientists from University of Regensburg, Germany, and their colleagues over at the MIT, discovered a way to quickly and efficiently remove dangerous pollutants from water and soil. The method, which uses nanoparticles, is much better than any existing technology, as it is cheaper, simpler, cleaner and much more effective.
The new technology is the first one, which uses nanoparticles to remove contaminants without leaving any byproducts behind. Just like with all previous cases, the nanoparticles bind to the contaminants and form clusters.
The difference, however, is in the type of particles. The ones used by the researchers are biodegradable polymers, which are also currently used in medicine for drug delivery. This allows for the clusters to be safely removed using filters or UV light- no magnets necessary.
The researchers also tested their invention on waters with fish embryos. It proved to be extremely successful in removing the unwanted contaminants, while the embryos remained intact. In addition, the team states that technology is just as effective for water, as it is for soil, securing more land and resources for future farming practices.
The scientists are convinced that the technology is very promising, and can be easily scaled up to commercial quantities. They would need just a couple of years to set up a pilot scale study, and an interested investor of course.
Removing pollutants from water and soil has been a major area of interest for researchers and inventors for the past few years, especially since fresh water resources are becoming more scarce than ever. Other technologies with huge potential include the water treatment plant that removes contaminants from mining industry, the technique by CSIRO scientists to remove nuclear contaminants, and of course the device by the smart teenager that purifies water and generates electricity.
Image (c) MIT